Paul's Here

Dr. Peikoff on McCaskey

99 posts in this topic

The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

But it looks like in order to do the first they decided that the best course of action for them is to do the second. For the time being those two are connected and that is useful to know.

The final verdict whether or not an idea is correct comes from its adherence to reality. We are all free to make our own evaluations, free to express them, and free to act on our judgments. It is how WE approach intellectual matters, how we treat each other, that will determine what is the intellectual atmosphere "within the Objectivist movement". ARI only decide what is accepted within ARI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

But it looks like in order to do the first they decided that the best course of action for them is to do the second. For the time being those two are connected and that is useful to know.

The final verdict whether or not an idea is correct comes from its adherence to reality. We are all free to make our own evaluations, free to express them, and free to act on our judgments. It is how WE approach intellectual matters, how we treat each other, that will determine what is the intellectual atmosphere "within the Objectivist movement". ARI only decide what is accepted within ARI.

It's not the "Leonard Peikoff Institute". It is not the responsibility of the Ayn Rand Institute board members to fund, promote, and defend Leonard Peikoff's theories. That goes against the explicit purpose of the institute. There is no way to rationalize the hijacking of ARI as we are witnessing it now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A note from Yaron Brook concerning this matter. It looks like John McCaskey had taken a stand against Leonard Peikoff's and ARI theory of induction and the book presenting these theories. It seems like John McCaskey made disparaging remarks about this book prior to his Amazon post in other venues.

There is nothing anywhere indicating that John McCaskey made "disparaging remarks" about the book. As the expert in the field of history of science on the ARI board he championed the project. As an expert he made constructive criticisms, as is expected in scholarly endeavors. This was in the area of historical fact, not against established philosophical principles of Objectivism. If John McCaskey eventually decided, if that is what happened, that he could no longer "support" the project, with the meaning of that still left unexplained, because he wasn't getting answers that satisfied him, that is not a "conflict of interest". This is about the history of science, not a matter of optional policy in organizational strategy. The common interest is supposed to be objectively seeking the truth, wherever that may lie, not falling in line with an official position on an intellectual matter, closing ranks in deference to Leonard Peikoff's "passionate views" -- on a subject that is not even Objectivism no less.

Based on this I find Peikoffs actions to be perfectly reasonable and within his rights as founder of the ARI.

Leonard Peikoff resigned his position with the ARI board long ago and has no such rights as "founder" to control the organization. The board of directors is an independent board that does not legally answer to any founder no longer in the organization. Ultimatums of the kind Leonard Peikoff publicly released in his email and in ARI's acknowledgment that "Dr. Peikoff presented the terms and timeline he expected ARI’s Board to meet in order to resolve the conflict" are not reasonable actions and raise obvious questions about the functioning of the organization as a 501c3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not the "Leonard Peikoff Institute". It is not the responsibility of the Ayn Rand Institute board members to fund, promote, and defend Leonard Peikoff's theories. That goes against the explicit purpose of the institute. There is no way to rationalize the hijacking of ARI as we are witnessing it now.

The scope of their activity is decided by ARI. We can engage in wishful thinking but we don't decide what that is. We can support it, in that form, or not. I personally will continue to do so. My support does not mean I automatically support everything that is promoted and funded by ARI - but I support enough of what comes out of ARI. In essence, them promoting Dr. Peikoff's work, even if incorrect, is not a deal breaker for me. Me supporting ARI does not prevent me from making my own judgment about what they promote and expressing that view.

I think that implicitly there is this assumption that one does not have a voice, if not endorsed by ARI. But we all have a voice and whether something is right or not is not determined by who endorses it. Further, I also think that good things can come from de-centralization, if you will, of Objectivist activism and intellectual pursuits related to Objectivism, and for that to happen people should stop relaying on and looking toward ARI and start their own independent ventures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... More than anything, that statement reads like a polite letter of neutrality. Since Peikoff does in fact hold significant power over ARI, I don't blame them for remaining neutral. But I don't think anything said here is really new information or alters the nature of the case.

Finally, nothing in this statement can alter what Peikoff has said in his own statement. My problems with this statement are mulitple, and most of them have already been expressed by others on this forum...

I don't think it was "neutral"; only written to appear that way. It was much more "politically nuanced" than Leonard Peikoff's "passionate" polemics, but still very revealing -- and quite insulting to those who have so strenuously tried to gather facts and explanations and who don't like what they see.

Notice that Leonard Peikoff's own notorious ultimatum email is blamed, by insinuation, on John McCaskey: "What Dr. McCaskey published has caused a clamor" -- not legitimate questions from independent minds reacting to what they saw in reality; only a "clamor" over allegedly dubious "facts" and no "context".

Notice the attempt to marginalize those who object by referring to them only as a "small group", with no mention of content. The "clamor" is said to be "continually reinvigorated by statements of 'fact' and commentaries" from the "small group of people who lack the full context": "Fact" is put in scare quotes and there is no mention that the commentary was "reinvigorated" by Leonard Peikoff's own additional polemics against John McCaskey, a public statement made by Leonard Peikoff which was forced by a long delay filled with a firestorm of justifiable questions and objections following his own initial email ultimatum.

We are told that "Dr. Peikoff’s private e-mail was informal, unedited, and not written for publication". Not mentioned is that Leonard Peikoff and ARI both chose to release that email as the only public statement justifying the demand that John McCaskey's leave the Board, that it was the only written evidence that John McCaskey had, and that both Leonard Peikoff and ARI avoided any explanation in any "context" until forced to respond by the growing controversy they spawned. This is not a matter of a "leaked" informal email taken out of context and spread around to misrepresent someone. They did this themselves, apparently believing that Leonard Peikoff's dramatic denunciations suffice as a substitute for something more reasonable. It doesn't, at least not for this "small group".

We are told -- not mentioning that this part is about their treatment of Craig Biddle -- that "an ARI guest speaker must show that he maintains an appropriate understanding of Objectivism". Is it really "Objectivism" that Craig Biddle is suddenly said to not "appropriately understand"? "There are ongoing internal reviews, which consider any new developments. If a guest speaker exhibits views that are significantly at odds with ARI’s, or has poor methods of communication, or poor thinking skills as related to a specific topic, or just poor judgment, for example, we may not allow this person to appear on our stage." No mention that Craig Biddle questioned the justice of Leonard Peikoff's treatment of John McCaskey. Is that "poor judgment"? "Poor thinking skills"? Was it "communicated poorly"? Or is this an acknowledgment that a call for justice for John McCaskey in the face of Leonard Peikoff's treatment of him is "significantly at odds with ARI’s views"? They couldn't put it that way and address the actual subject of their dispute with Craig, could they?

If you have "doubts" or "reservations" about any of this, you are told, "please set aside the selective reports, slanted histories of old conflicts, and rampant speculation—and consider the actual facts". Selective reports, slanted histories of old conflicts, and rampant speculation serves only as a laundry list of undefined straw men that they dare not try to identify -- while other non-objective insinuations of this sort trashing John McCaskey and Craig Biddle are now to be considered "actual facts"?

And that whitewash of the facts is the problem with this letter. The only facts we have had are the written polemics and ultimatums from Leonard Peikoff that caused the controversy, the more respectful and objective writings of John McCaskey in contrast, and the decided lack of facts offered to justify any of this. Why is that those who have been the most careful in respectfully laying out the facts and trying to understand them (and this includes in this instance Paul and Dianna Hsieh) were the first to be trashed this way? The attempt to deflect this controversy as a "private and confidential Board matter" just isn't working, and neither are Leonard Peikoff's ultimatums and "passionate views" espoused with no objective justification for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

[...]

Yes, of course now he is free to express his views, because he was forced to choose between his career with ARI or voicing his criticisms of the book LL. But he was only forced to such a crossroads because of Peikoff's intellectual intolerance.

This is mind-reading and psychologizing and I would have deleted this post if others had not already made appropriate responses to it.

I caution all FORUM members to avoid attributing motives to people in public posts. Posts that involve "mind-reading," which is explicitly against FORUM standards, will be deleted.

Discussing someone's actions and expressed ideas is fine. So is discussing our theories or conclusions why certain people did certain things if done in private. Because we can't read minds, we can't know with certainty nor defend judgments about other people's motives, so they do not belong in a public post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that implicitly there is this assumption that one does not have a voice, if not endorsed by ARI. But we all have a voice and whether something is right or not is not determined by who endorses it. Further, I also think that good things can come from de-centralization, if you will, of Objectivist activism and intellectual pursuits related to Objectivism, and for that to happen people should stop relaying on and looking toward ARI and start their own independent ventures.

I agree with this completely and I couldn't have said it better myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If Harriman's theory is valid and McCaskey is wrong to say that he has it, then let him or Peikoff come forward with a rebuttal to McCaskey's criticisms. Why is that so hard?

John McCaskey did not say that David "distorted the facts in order to support" their theory. That implies a deliberate distortion and there is no reason to believe that. Whether or not you agree with them and whether or not they are always correct, these are individuals of integrity who believe in what they are doing. Nor has anything else I have seen accused them of distortions intended to support their theories. That is not what the controversy is about.

Still, there are misleading statements in the book about how the science progressed and this matters both to the historical account and its use in support of the theory. Some of this involves erroneous accounts of what the original scientists gave for what they did and thought, and some of it involves projecting onto the scientists what they must have thought despite the lack of evidence. The actual extent of this is impossible to detect by anyone who is not knowledgeable about the history. John McCaskey, who is a specialist in this field, says in his amazon post that he found it fairly often. But he indicates that some of the clashes are with generally accepted historical interpretations rather than full original accounts, and this does not mean that David is necessarily wrong, only that supportive argument is missing.

While there have been a few examples given of overt contradictions, and John McCaskey has evidently not written about all the ones he indicates he observed, much of it seems to be in the form of oversimplification that was intended to "essentialize" in support of the theory, leaving out relevant and important complexities.

Yet David has said that he approached the book "inductively", discovering his principles from what scientists actually did, so despite honest intent and a lot of good understanding, errors in interpreting the history are potentially important. John McCaskey says that they are not all easily corrected in a way that would still support the theory, but he remains strongly supportive of the general approach and intent.

In one specific area I analyzed in detail I found that correcting misunderstandings, omissions, and misleading statements actually strengthened and expanded the argument David was making in that realm. It appeared to me that in some realms there were concepts and principles not widely understood and which he did not fully understand, and so he didn't realize that his simplifications were creating significant misstatements. All of this was understandable given the nature of this particular subject matter in which he was not an expert, and I saw no indication of any deliberate distortion (it didn't even occur to me that anyone would raise such an accusation). This surely is itself an example of dealing with limited knowledge in the process of induction -- unrecognized errors can lead either way, but are never good!

Most of those who accept the book and its plausibility in whole and uncritically seem to be those who have the least independent knowledge of the science and its history. Given a well-written plausible-sounding simplified account how would they know any different? This evidently includes, understandably, all or most of the ARI Board and Leonard Peikoff himself. Based on this alone (though there are other reasons) I have to object to the ARI official position that it decides on the truth of such matters and that everyone else in the organization is expected to follow along in a united front or be accused of "conflict of interest", "poor thinking skills", "poor judgment", etc. Remember that this pertains not just to organizational policy but facts of specialized science and history. Certainly, basing such collective decisions for conformity within ARI on Leonard Peikoff's "passionate views" and ultimatums accusing dissidents of "attacking" "The Philosophy" is entirely unwarranted and inexcusable.

Without dwelling here on the role of rationalism and psychology I think from this alone you can see why "it is so hard to come forward with a rebuttal to McCaskey's criticisms". They don't want to. Leonard Peikoff in particular has indicated that he regards answering such scholarly discussion -- which in the case of John McCaskey he said is a "pretentious ignoramus as an intellectual" -- as a form of "moral sanction of the attackers, implying as it does that their charges are worthy of consideration". Don't let facts get in the way of moral denunciation -- it's so much easier that way. This must have been completely bewildering to a scholar like John McCaskey when he encountered it, having thought (along with, I hope, most of us) that Objectivism starts with objectivity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

[...]

Yes, of course now he is free to express his views, because he was forced to choose between his career with ARI or voicing his criticisms of the book LL. But he was only forced to such a crossroads because of Peikoff's intellectual intolerance.

This is mind-reading and psychologizing and I would have deleted this post if others had not already made appropriate responses to it.

I caution all FORUM members to avoid attributing motives to people in public posts. Posts that involve "mind-reading," which is explicitly against FORUM standards, will be deleted.

I was thinking of saying something about this, too, but not as 'mind reading'. I don't think it's 'mind reading' to say that Leonard Peikoff wants his theories promoted by ARI and that he has exhibited a form of intellectual intolerance. Rather, the issues are that it's not proper to say that he thinks in terms of "pet" theories or that, correctly or not, he doesn't regard them as already integrated with Objectivism, not "attached"; and, some forms of intellectual intolerance are good -- the general concept of intolerance as such does not accurately capture what he did in pinning down the objections to it. I think there have been some inappropriate attributing of motives elsewhere in the thread but I don't remember where.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

[...]

Yes, of course now he is free to express his views, because he was forced to choose between his career with ARI or voicing his criticisms of the book LL. But he was only forced to such a crossroads because of Peikoff's intellectual intolerance.

This is mind-reading and psychologizing and I would have deleted this post if others had not already made appropriate responses to it.

I caution all FORUM members to avoid attributing motives to people in public posts. Posts that involve "mind-reading," which is explicitly against FORUM standards, will be deleted.

Discussing someone's actions and expressed ideas is fine. So is discussing our theories or conclusions why certain people did certain things if done in private. Because we can't read minds, we can't know with certainty nor defend judgments about other people's motives, so they do not belong in a public post.

Yaron Brook's statement

However, in early August 2010, Dr. Peikoff raised the question of whether Dr. McCaskey should continue to serve on ARI’s Board. Dr. McCaskey had indicated that he did not and could not support a significant intellectual project funded by ARI and championed by Dr. Peikoff and ARI’s Board. The project, David Harriman’s new book, The Logical Leap, presents Dr. Peikoff’s ground-breaking theory of induction, and illustrates the theory’s essentials through an examination of the history of physics. In essence, Dr. Peikoff viewed Dr. McCaskey as having a serious conflict in this regard. The Board began a discussion of how to resolve the matter.

On August 30, 2010, Dr. Peikoff reiterated his views quite passionately in his e-mail (and also in subsequent conversations). In these communications, Dr. Peikoff presented the terms and timeline he expected ARI’s Board to meet in order to resolve the conflict. At all times, Dr. McCaskey’s unfavorable attitude toward this major ARI project and Dr. Peikoff’s view on the matter were the only issues, not any personal views Dr. Peikoff had about Dr. McCaskey’s moral character.

combined with Dr. Peikoff's email make it clear that Dr. Peikoff pressured the board for McCaskey's removal literally because of their intellectual disagreement. I don't have to "attribute a motive" to Dr. Peikoff; it is literally stated, both by Yaron Brook and by Peikoff himself.

As for my other statement,

The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

I'm again basing this on facts. Dr. Peikoff has shown a history of conflating his own theories with Objectivism. For example, when he proposed the DIM Hypothesis and deduced proper candidates to vote for based on the theory, he literally stated that anyone who disagrees does not understand Objectivism and the role of philosophy in man's life. That is elevating a case of simple intellectual disagreement to the level of disagreement over application and/or understanding of Objectivism; whether he does so on purpose or on accident, that is elevating his theory to the level of Objectivism.

Many of his subsequent statements surrounding this controversy have read that as if too criticize LL is to criticize ARI, Peikoff, and Objectivism, and that failure to agree with LL equates with failure to be a real Objectivist.

What other interpretation can one possibly have of statements from Dr. Peikoff such as:

In other words, my role in this connection is to remove from the existential center of the movement any influence which I evaluate as harmful in practice to the spread of Objectivism. To sneer in a public setting at an epochal Objectivist book qualifies, in my judgment, as harm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The purpose of ARI is to promote and spread Objectivism; not Peikoff's pet theories that he wishes to attach to Objectivism.

[...]

Yes, of course now he is free to express his views, because he was forced to choose between his career with ARI or voicing his criticisms of the book LL. But he was only forced to such a crossroads because of Peikoff's intellectual intolerance.

This is mind-reading and psychologizing and I would have deleted this post if others had not already made appropriate responses to it.

I caution all FORUM members to avoid attributing motives to people in public posts. Posts that involve "mind-reading," which is explicitly against FORUM standards, will be deleted.

I was thinking of saying something about this, too, but not as 'mind reading'. I don't think it's 'mind reading' to say that Leonard Peikoff wants his theories promoted by ARI and that he has exhibited a form of intellectual intolerance. Rather, the issues are that it's not proper to say that he thinks in terms of "pet" theories or that, correctly or not, he doesn't regard them as already integrated with Objectivism, not "attached"; and, some forms of intellectual intolerance are good -- the general concept of intolerance as such does not accurately capture what he did in pinning down the objections to it. I think there have been some inappropriate attributing of motives elsewhere in the thread but I don't remember where.

"Tolerant" or "intolerance" probably are poor words to use, as they have been mangled and destroyed by those who advocate accepting and not criticizing evil ideas as indicating some kind of intellectual virtue, and denote that act of intellectual indifference as "tolerance".

What I'm referring to is the inexcusable act of elevating mere professional and intellectual disagreements to the level of polemics and grand moral-schisms when there is no justification for doing so. Isolated disagreements of a technical nature in a field of science are not grounds for moral condemnation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as a poster sticks to citing facts and quoting statements, that's fine. Present the facts that lead readers to form their own conclusions about the people involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the subject of mind reading and psychologizing, I don't want to sound unfair towards Dr. Peikoff, so I'll explain my reasoning.

A person doesn't write something like OPAR on accident. The book's level of rigor and clarity could only be possible if it came from someone who uses their words with great precision and care (not even mentioning the obvious thorough mastery of Objectivism). Therefore, when I read many of these statements he has issued lately, I can hardly find the choice of wording to be an accident, that "unfortunately" leads the reader guessing wrong intentions on Peikoff's part. If you extend Dr. Peikoff the courtesy that when he says something he means it, and that when he uses words he uses them with precision, I don't know what other conclusions one is supposed to come to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A note from Yaron Brook concerning this matter. It looks like John McCaskey had taken a stand against Leonard Peikoff's and ARI theory of induction and the book presenting these theories. It seems like John McCaskey made disparaging remarks about this book prior to his Amazon post in other venues. Based on this I find Peikoffs actions to be perfectly reasonable and within his rights as founder of the ARI.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=New...le&id=26109

OK. It is possible that McCaskey committed actions which justified Dr. Peikoff´s censure of him. But then why did not Dr. Peikoff tell us what those actions were, instead of just, apparently, expecting us to take him (Dr. Peikoff) on faith? It is one important principle of Objectivism, that whenever you pronounce moral judgment, you are obligated to state your reasons. Correct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the subject of mind reading and psychologizing, I don't want to sound unfair towards Dr. Peikoff, so I'll explain my reasoning.

A person doesn't write something like OPAR on accident. The book's level of rigor and clarity could only be possible if it came from someone who uses their words with great precision and care (not even mentioning the obvious thorough mastery of Objectivism). Therefore, when I read many of these statements he has issued lately, I can hardly find the choice of wording to be an accident, that "unfortunately" leads the reader guessing wrong intentions on Peikoff's part. If you extend Dr. Peikoff the courtesy that when he says something he means it, and that when he uses words he uses them with precision, I don't know what other conclusions one is supposed to come to.

I think that Carlos is right on this, and that Betsy is wrong. Given Dr. Peikoff´s professional record, we must in reason assume that he knows what he is saying, and that he means it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given Dr. Peikoff´s professional record, we must in reason assume that he knows what he is saying, and that he means it.

Yes, that is reason to assume, but not to know. Knowing for sure would take mind-reading and the only person whose mind one can read and whose motives and context of knowledge one can know with certainty are one's own. Assumptions about other people's motives can be wrong.

When we publicly judge others by their alleged motives rather than their actual words and deeds, we may do them a grave injustice. That's why assumptions about motives should be be explored and discussed privately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given Dr. Peikoff´s professional record, we must in reason assume that he knows what he is saying, and that he means it.

Yes, that is reason to assume, but not to know. Knowing for sure would take mind-reading and the only person whose mind one can read and whose motives and context of knowledge one can know with certainty are one's own. Assumptions about other people's motives can be wrong.

When we publicly judge others by their alleged motives rather than their actual words and deeds, we may do them a grave injustice. That's why assumptions about motives should be be explored and discussed privately.

What alleged motives apart from what he wrote are being referred to here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What alleged motives apart from what he wrote are being referred to here?

Fortunately none other than in the post I have already commented on, and I hope it will remain that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are told that "Dr. Peikoff’s private e-mail was informal, unedited, and not written for publication". Not mentioned is that Leonard Peikoff and ARI both chose to release that email as the only public statement justifying the demand that John McCaskey's leave the Board, that it was the only written evidence that John McCaskey had, and that both Leonard Peikoff and ARI avoided any explanation in any "context" until forced to respond by the growing controversy they spawned. This is not a matter of a "leaked" informal email taken out of context and spread around to misrepresent someone. They did this themselves, apparently believing that Leonard Peikoff's dramatic denunciations suffice as a substitute for something more reasonable. It doesn't, at least not for this "small group".

It is this that, for me, is the most troublesome aspect of this affair, not Dr. McCaskey or Mr. Harriman and his book and most decidedly not the relative merits of Dr. McCaskey's concerns with respect to that book. I do not under any circumstance consider the factually unsupported and vituperative pronouncements of Dr. Peikoff's original communication to the ARI in this matter to constitute the appropriate stuff for public dissemination. The same is true for Dr. Peikoff's "follow-up" statement of this past week, though published at his own Website, which I judged to be nothing more than a further litany of unsupported slanders against a professional colleague.

That the ARI and Dr. Peikoff himself considered either of these to be otherwise -- that is, sufficient for publication -- is entirely unacceptable in my view. This is true in any similar context irrespective of who or what one is: Dr. Peikoff's contributions to Objectivism, his achievements in the field of Objectivist scholarship, and his undeniable leading stature as an Objectivist do not, in any material way, alter this fact. None grants Dr. Peikoff a free pass to engage in this sort of thing without comment, let alone a certain degree of reasoned censure.

As for the ARI specifically, I do agree that a continued relationship with Dr. Peikoff, properly defined, can be of tremendous intellectual value. I also agree that the Institute has a vitally important responsibility to control the nature, tone and substance of the messages that enter the stream of public discourse under its banner however informally. In my view, the ARI failed initially to live up to that responsibility in this case. I do think, however, that this needn't represent a fatal "dropping of the ball": Dr. Brook's statement of this week, however politic and perhaps because of it, helps to restore my confidence in the future for the ARI. I would only point out that this is the kind of statement that ought to have been put out at the very start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those who are criticizing Dr. Peikoff, even accusing him of "slander" -- aren't you missing something?

From Yaron Brook's statement:

On September 3, 2010, John McCaskey resigned from ARI’s Board of Directors
on the condition that
he be permitted to publish an e-mail Leonard Peikoff had sent to Arline Mann, co-chair of the Board.... Dr. Peikoff’s private e-mail was
informal, unedited, and not written for publication.
[emphasis added]

Doesn't that tell you something about McCaskey, and the degree (or lack of it) of his committment to and concern for ARI?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Those who are criticizing Dr. Peikoff, even accusing him of "slander" -- aren't you missing something?

From Yaron Brook's statement:

On September 3, 2010, John McCaskey resigned from ARI’s Board of Directors
on the condition that
he be permitted to publish an e-mail Leonard Peikoff had sent to Arline Mann, co-chair of the Board.... Dr. Peikoff’s private e-mail was
informal, unedited, and not written for publication.
[emphasis added]

Doesn't that tell you something about McCaskey, and the degree (or lack of it) of his committment to and concern for ARI?

No. If I remember correctly, he asked if anyone involved wanted to give him something else in writing. Both LP and ARI agreed to let him publish the letter. They could have said "no." Did they tell JM what you state? Did they ask him not to publish it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On September 3, 2010, John McCaskey resigned from ARI’s Board of Directors
on the condition that
he be permitted to publish an e-mail Leonard Peikoff had sent to Arline Mann, co-chair of the Board.... Dr. Peikoff’s private e-mail was
informal, unedited, and not written for publication.
[emphasis added]

Doesn't that tell you something about McCaskey, and the degree (or lack of it) of his committment to and concern for ARI?

Yes. He asked for PERMISSION. He asked Dr. Peikoff to make a statement, and was surprised when he was told to use the letter. Also both Dr. Peikoff and ARI granted permission.

I don't think anybody imagined the firestorm that would erupt over this whole matter -- neither McCaskey, Peikoff, or Brook. In hindsight, I'll bet they all wish they had decided not to go public, and Dr. Brook said so and admitted it was a mistake on his part.

In addition to these facts, my own conclusions are based on personal knowledge which I have shared privately with friends but don't belong in a public forum. If Bill will e-mail me, I'll fill him in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes. He asked for PERMISSION. He asked Dr. Peikoff to make a statement, and was surprised when he was told to use the letter. Also both Dr. Peikoff and ARI granted permission.

Public response from John McCaskey to Paul and Dianna Hsieh:

When I first heard of Peikoff's demand that I be removed from the board, I broached the obvious possibility of my resigning. But I said I thought that would make good sense only if Peikoff were willing to go public with his denunciation and demand.

It became increasingly clear to me that the Institute would be seriously damaged if it took either horn of the dilemma, but I still had seen nothing in writing that articulated exactly what Peikoff was demanding and why.

After I received a copy of the email, I offered to resign if he gave permission to release that. It was the only thing in writing I had. I expected he would edit it first. He preferred to have it stand as is.

The Institute also gave me its permission to release the email.

I don't think anybody imagined the firestorm that would erupt over this whole matter -- neither McCaskey, Peikoff, or Brook. In hindsight, I'll bet they all wish they had decided not to go public, and Dr. Brook said so and admitted it was a mistake on his part.

I don't see how any intelligent, mature adult could not have realized that Leonard Peikoff's ultimatum polemics were appropriate at all, let alone as the form for a public statement that both ARI and Leonard Peikoff chose to make -- and then avoided anything else for weeks. How could anyone not expect some kind of major controversy over what he wrote and did?

As for whether or not it was a mistake to allow what happend and what was said to become public, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. From the perspective of the subsequent ARI damage control letter it was most certainly a mistake. For the rest of us -- better that we know the truth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't see how any intelligent, mature adult could not have realized that Leonard Peikoff's ultimatum polemics were appropriate at all, let alone as the form for a public statement that both ARI and Leonard Peikoff chose to make -- and then avoided anything else for weeks. How could anyone not expect some kind of major controversy over what he wrote and did?

If the standard of judgement is "I am great and whatever I do is axiomatically right", no controversy would be expected. Explanation is not afterall due to the mere masses of pretentious pseudo-intellectuals. Keep in mind that LP explicitly stated recently that he is a state of enmity ("a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism") towards "a few longstanding ARI board members", i.e. Mike Berliner, Harry Binswanger, and John Ridpath, but that has not been - so far - widely known. Perhaps because more than a few ARI-supporting Objectivists might wonder at LP's overall ability to rationally judge, and his own personal priorities, if has feelings of "hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism" towards these men.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't see how any intelligent, mature adult could not have realized that Leonard Peikoff's ultimatum polemics were appropriate at all, let alone as the form for a public statement that both ARI and Leonard Peikoff chose to make -- and then avoided anything else for weeks. How could anyone not expect some kind of major controversy over what he wrote and did?

If the standard of judgement is "I am great and whatever I do is axiomatically right", no controversy would be expected. Explanation is not afterall due to the mere masses of pretentious pseudo-intellectuals.

I should have written: "I don't see how any intelligent, mature adult could have thought..." -- but I see you got that.

In a previous post I wrote: "This is not a matter of a 'leaked' informal email taken out of context and spread around to misrepresent someone. They did this themselves, apparently believing that Leonard Peikoff's dramatic denunciations suffice as a substitute for something more reasonable. It doesn't, at least not for this 'small group'".

I don't think it's proper or correct to characterize or insinuate Leonard Peikoff as seeing himself as "I am great and whatever I do is axiomatically right", but he does have a way of coming to conclusions he believes in with less than what one would expect to be the proper justification given for them, perhaps presenting them so carelessly on a take it or leave it basis because he no longer cares what people think of him. But that can only work when you're right. Because of all the great things he has done in the past I wouldn't want these incidents over the last few years to be used as an excuse for 'piling on' him and losing perspective -- something is obviously wrong -- but as long as he is speaking out publicly and being taken seriously in these matters (including by ARI) it is important that he be held accountable for them. A is A and can't be swept under the rug to hide the damage being done.

Keep in mind that LP explicitly stated recently that he is a state of enmity ("a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism") towards "a few longstanding ARI board members", i.e. Mike Berliner, Harry Binswanger, and John Ridpath, but that has not been - so far - widely known.

How do you know who the people are?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites